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Obituaries

* Anne Francine; TV, Stage Actress

Anne Francine, 82, stage actress who also appeared in films and the television series “Harper Valley PTA.” A prominent New York and European cabaret singer for six decades, the beautiful contralto added humor to her repertoire of sophisticated songs by Cole Porter and Jerome Kern. She had a distinguished career on Broadway, acting in such productions as “By the Beautiful Sea,” “The Great Sebastians,” “The School for Scandal,” “Mame” and “Anything Goes.” Francine also ventured into such films as “Crocodile Dundee” and Fellini’s “Juliet of the Spirits” in which she played a psychoanalyst. Other films were “Stand Up and Be Counted” and “Savages,” both in 1972. Francine’s comedic talents proved useful when she took on the role of Barbara Eden’s arch-nemesis Flora Simpson Reilly in the 1981-1982 television series “Harper Valley PTA.” Distinguished by being modeled on a hit song, Jeannie C. Riley’s 1968 recording of the tune of the same title, the series featured Eden as a young widow who met disapproval of her Southern town’s matrons led by Francine. In her later years, despite a stroke in 1992, Francine taught an annual cabaret symposium in Waterford, Conn. On Friday in London, Conn.

Brett Howard; Author, Business Owner

Brett Howard, 79, author of an acclaimed history of Boston, a biography of Lena Horne and several books about African American life in the Jazz Age. Howard, a pilot and sailor, also operated a hydrofoil business in the Caribbean in the 1960s, taking passengers from Puerto Rico to the U.S. Virgin Islands. In the early 1950s, as owner of Lady Brett Candles, she would fly her private plane from city to city to show off her line at department stores, a barnstorming promotion that was a novelty then, drawing hundreds to her showings. Howard was born to a wealthy Memphis family with interests in department stores, politics and literary society. She spent much of her later childhood in a tuberculosis sanitarium in New Mexico, then moved to New York City as a young woman, where she joined a circle of Southern writers including Truman Capote, Carson McCullers and Tennessee Williams. Her books included “Boston: A Social History,” “Lena Horne,” “The Baroness of Harlem,” “One Drop of Blood,” “Memphis Blues” and “Love’s Fire and Glory.” She co-wrote a biography of Theodore Dreiser, “My Uncle Theodore,” with his niece, Vera Dreiser. Howard was also a ghostwriter of some popular medical books. On Nov. 27 in Santa Monica.

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